Changes to the financial responsibility for juvenile court ordered psychiatric evaluations reduce inpatient services utilization: an interrupted time series study


The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the impact of a July 2008 Tennessee Courtof Appeals opinion that shifted financial responsibility for juvenile court ordered psychiatricevaluations from the State to the County.

Methods: We used de-identified administrative data from the Tennessee Department of Mental Healthand mid-year population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau from July 1, 2006 to June30, 2010, and an interrupted time series design with segmented regression analysis toquantify the impact of the implementation of the Court opinion.

Results: In the study period, there were 2,176 referrals for juvenile court ordered psychiatricevaluations in Tennessee; of these, 74.1% were inpatient evaluations.

The Court opinion wasassociated with a decrease of 9.4 (95% C.I. = 7.9-10.8) inpatient and increase of 1.2 (95%C.I.

= 0.4-2.1) outpatient evaluations per 100,000 Tennessee youth aged 12 to 19 years permonth.

Conclusions: The Court opinion that shifted financial responsibility for juvenile court ordered psychiatricevaluations from the State to the County was associated with a sudden and significantdecrease in inpatient psychiatric evaluations, and more modest increase in outpatientevaluations.



Published on: 2012-05-31

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